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tv   Forensic Files  CNN  June 7, 2014 2:30am-3:01am PDT

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>> and i think it was the shirt that an fbi investigator at the lab was able to identify that this is the exact shirt that was worn in this robbery, and it matches identical to the surveillance film inside the bank. i think that that became the straw that broke the camel's back and broke the case. a young couple went camping in the woods, but only one of them came out alive. the survivor told two different versions of what happened. so it took forensic psychiatry, ballistics, and korean war history to discover what really happened in the deep forests of oregon. the area surrounding majestic mt. hood in oregon is a
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sportsman's paradise. mountains, streams, ideal for fishing and boating, and deep forests filled with game. candra and julio torres chose this area for a weekend camping trip. they were young. julio was 21. candra just 16. >> it was pretty much love at first sight. my father wanted us to get married when i was 15 because he could see that the relationship was heating up. >> the trip celebrated their first wedding anniversary, and they brought candra's dog, rusty, along. although they love to fish, they weren't catching anything, so they asked one of the other fishermen who was there for a little advice. >> when he saw me, he lit up, which was not -- i didn't think anything of it.
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i was very young, attractive, and i was used to turning heads. >> the fisherman, tom brown, told them about a good fishing spot nearby that had recently been stocked with fish. >> and we looked at each other, and it sounded like fun. we had no luck fishing for two days, and we were ready to catch some fish. >> the fishing site was several miles away, and by the time they got there, it was dark. so they set up camp to get some rest. three days later, candra went to the local sheriff's office and called her mother with some terrible news. >> she says, "julio's dead. it was a terrible accident. will you come and get me?" >> candra said that the three of them had gone fishing and later did some hunting. they sighted a deer. julio handed tom his rifle so tom could take the first shot, but the rifle went off accidentally, killing julio
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instantly. >> oh, my god! >> candra screamed. her dog instinctively attacked tom, and tom shot her dog, rusty, in self-defense. >> and then he panicked because he had a prior record, was known to the police, and that no one would believe him. >> so tom had no desire to explain the incident to police and gave candra the choice between staying with him or heading back to town. >> i had no way of getting down. i couldn't even drive. i didn't have a license. i didn't know how to drive a stick. >> confused and in shock, candra stayed with brown. but after two days, they reconsidered and decided to notify the authorities. >> he told them that there had been a shooting, and it was an accident, and she backed up his story. he then cooperated and took them to where the body was, helped them recover the rifle.
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>> to prove his story, tom took a lie detector test and passed. police ruled julio's death an accident. >> the sheriff's department was very supportive of tom brown. i think that they believed the stories and that they wanted to keep an innocent man from being locked behind bars. >> but a few days later, candra changed her story.
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candra torres originally told investigators she had witnessed her husband's death and that it was an accidental shooting. >> everybody was saying it was an accident that knew anything about it. no one was saying anything other than that.
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>> but candra's mother had doubts about the story. >> i know how she loved the dog, and i know how she loved him, but it was just like it was coming out of a stereo, you know, being replayed or something. i don't know. it wasn't like really her. >> but when candra went back to the home she shared with julio, everything changed. >> and when she went inside the apartment, she fell apart. she said, "mom and daddy, don't hate me, don't hate me." and i said, "i could never hate you." and then she said she didn't know if it was an accident or not, that she did not see him shot. and i said, "my god, candra, don't you realize that man murdered your husband?" >> in this version, candra said she was alone making breakfast at the campsite when she heard a
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shot. tom brown came running from the woods. candra said she ran to see what had happened to julio. >> and then i heard another shot. and i looked next to me and my dog was jerking. he had been shot in the head. and i looked at him with total surprise, and i said, "you shot my dog!" and he smiled a big smile and said, "i shot your husband, too." at that second, my life flashed before me. i was 16 years old, and i was going to die. there was no one that could help me. my dog that i had had from childhood was dead. my husband, whom i loved, he's telling me he's dead, and i'm up in the mountains with a murderer. i'm next. obviously, whatever he wants with me, he's going to do, and then he's going to kill me. and i knew that i was going to die. >> he then took her deep into
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the woods. >> after hiking for about four hours, we stopped to rest at the river. and that was the first time that he raped me. >> candra said brown assaulted her repeatedly over the next several days. she said the one thing she feels that saved her life was reading aloud from the bible. >> then when i go to the altar of god, to god, my joy and my delight. >> his heart had been too touched and he wasn't able to kill me. so, he came to me instead and he started crying. and he said, "i didn't kill your husband on purpose. it was an accident. and the reason that i brought you up here is because i'm afraid to go back to prison." >> over the next several days, brown told candra repeatedly
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that julio's death was an accident. and he agreed to let her go, but only if she told authorities that she witnessed the shooting and that it was an accident. to see if this version was true, candra took a lie detector test. >> tom brown had been given the lie detector test, and his actually said that he was telling the truth. he knew how to pass the lie detector test. so, if i took a lie detector test, then we'd at least have equal evidence against him. >> but she failed. >> polygraphs do not measure truth or lie. what they measure is emotion. and if you were a 16-year-old girl that had been raped and marched up in the mountain and god saved you, brought you down
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out of that mountain, you're emotional, you're talking about your husband that you loved that was shot by this murderer, would you be emotional? i think so. >> with nowhere else to turn, investigators looked more closely at the physical evidence. the dog's wound would tell whether he was shot frontally, as tom brown claimed, or from behind, which was candra's version. unfortunately, the dog's body had not been autopsied, and he was buried in a mass grave for animals. the bullet that killed julio entered his cheek and passed nearly horizontally through his upper vertebrae. >> trajectories could vary depending on terrain and a whole variety of other factors of how the gun was held, whether the person receiving it was standing uphill or downhill. >> a trajectory analysis wasn't
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enough to tell whether the shooting was an accident or intentional, but they couldn't understand how tom brown passed his polygraph. >> we believed her, but she flunked a polygraph. we didn't believe him, but he passed. and so, what do you do? well, what are our other options? >> so, prosecutors asked a forensic psychiatrist how candra could have failed her polygraph, and his discovery changed the course of the investigation. to just losing their balance. and not being able to get up from a fall can have serious, lifetime consequences. being prepared is important. philips lifeline with autoalert is more than just a medical alert button. it's an advanced fall detection system designed to get you help quickly. if you fall and you're unable to push your button, the fall detection technology within autoalert can trigger the button to automatically place a call for help. our us-based staff will make sure you get the help you need right away.
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at first, candra torres said
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she watched in horror as her husband was killed in a freak hunting accident. later, she claimed that tom brown murdered her husband while she was back at the campsite. to find out which version was correct, forensic psychiatrist dr. joseph treleaven interviewed candra for several hours. >> i concluded that she didn't have any mental disorder. she was under some stress because she's had a stressful experience, but that was all. >> but why did candra initially vouch for tom brown, the man she now says killed her husband? >> frankly, at first i didn't know what to make about it. i remembered the stories of what happened to the prisoners of war in the korean war and where they were isolated, often brutalized, often for fear of their life. and after a long period of time,
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some of them would accept the point of view of their captor and then testify against their own country. and they called it at the time brainwashing. >> today, it's known as the stockholm syndrome, named for the hostages held in a stockholm bank robbery who sympathized with their captors, even while their lives were threatened. experts say this occurs to hostages when four things happen -- a traumatic shock, isolation, indoctrination, and the promise of a reward. >> the shooting of the dog gives a very visual and powerful demonstration of the dangerousness of the man that was her captor and brings it home. and then being assaulted physically, pretty powerful stuff, you know? it's stressful, almost, as you can get.
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>> for candra, the cascade mountains provided the isolation, and brown indoctrinated her by repeatedly telling her that the shooting was an accident. her reward was survival, escape from repeated rape, and the fear she may have been responsible for her husband's murder. >> the reward in candra torres's case wasn't just coming out of the woods alive. the reward was then she wouldn't feel guilty about being an instrument of her husband's death. >> candra didn't just accept brown's story of an accidental shooting, she actually believed it. >> i had nobody with me but a murderer. do i really want to believe he's a murderer? because believing that is terrifying. do i really want to think that my husband died so someone could rape me and kidnap me? for me, denial was the best way to survive.
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>> we all tell ourselves little lies, and sometimes big lies, to make ourselves feel more comfortable, and certainly when our survival is at stake, i mean, you can change your perception of things. >> this made her polygraph test useless. >> if she doesn't know in her own mind what is truth and what is fiction, how can she possibly react properly to a polygraph examination? >> there is a reason, and a very good reason that polygraph examinations are not admissible in courts of law. in this incident, tom brown passed the polygraph. and in this instance, mrs. torres flunked the polygraph. i firmly believe that both results are dead wrong. >> prosecutors now accepted the idea that candra was brainwashed. but how would they prove that julio had been murdered? >> she could testify to what he
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said. she could testify about what happened to the dog. but we had a crime committed without an eyewitness. and this was a very, very close case. >> ballistic experts reexamined the evidence and the level of trajectory. >> if you're handing a gun, there is a lot of weight there. the chances of holding a gun to be perfectly flat, again, very, very unlikely. i would expect it to be upward instead of straight across. >> the medical examiner found no gunpowder residue around julio torres' entrance wound. so investigators wanted to find out the distance between julio and the gun when it was fired. a bullet isn't the only thing that comes out of the rifle when
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fired. gases and gunpowder do too. brown's rifle, a .22 caliber savage model 99 was tested at the oregon state police lab. the rifle had to be 36 inches away from the target to leave no trace of gunpowder. this meant that brown's rifle was at least three feet away when the trigger was pulled. >> the muzzle to target distance of three feet and a level entry and exit wound, how do you contort yourself to be able to do that when he is claiming all he was doing was passing the gun along? >> with this forensic evidence, tom brown was arrested and charged with murder. ♪
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based on the ballistic evidence, prosecutors were convinced tom brown murdered julio torres in the oregon forest to have his 16-year-old wife all to himself. trying the case wouldn't be easy since candra told two different stories to authorities. >> even if you believed candra
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torres 100%, she didn't see it. there was still no witnesses to this incident. and he cooperated all the way through. >> but while brown was awaiting trial in the county jail, he admitted the murder to his cellmate. >> the basics of it was i'm going to beat it. i passed the polygraph. >> that they wouldn't be able to get a conviction because i wasn't emotionally stable enough to hold out in court. >> and then when i beat it, i'm going to go after these -- go after her and those two prosecutors. >> but if they did get a conviction, it wouldn't be a big deal because he would get seven years and parole, and he would get out and he would kill me and kill my lawyer. >> his cellmate turned state's evidence. but prosecutors still felt they needed the forensic evidence. >> that evidence was important. but all those kinds of evidence that are always subject to human frailties and cross-examination
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and credibility and bias and so forth, and of course the powerful nature of forensic evidence is it's not subject to those things. >> candra torres testified in detail about her ordeal. tom brown told his version and tried to demonstrate how the alleged accident took place. >> he tried to hand off that rifle, and it just -- you can't. you can't do it. and he stuck to his guns, and i believe stuck to a lie. but it was demonstrated to be that. >> brown was so confident that he waived a jury trial. the verdict from the judge was guilty. he was sentenced to life in prison. bob hamilton is retired now, but he attends brown's parole hearings to make certain he stays in prison. and that candra never has to see
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him again. candra is remarried, has a family and a new life. she credits forensic psychiatry with helping her move beyond her horrifying ordeal. >> i guess a fact that somebody explained to her and explained publicly why she had these confused stories, that she wasn't nuts, and there was a logical explanation for it, gave her a great deal of emotional relief. >> but it was ballistics and the physics of gunpowder patterns that provided conclusive evidence that tom brown was lying. >> i thank god for forensics. i think that they solve a lot of crimes. and the fact that the angle of the shot and the type of gun that was used and the powder burns were all proof that this, you know, that it did not happen
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the way that he said it did. so i was very thankful for that evidence. >> you can have five witnesses to a crime, and you're probably going to get five different scenarios. you do the forensic science, >> you do st forensic science, you are going to get one. that's it. good morning, everyone on a saturday. certainly not news anyone wants to wake up to. i'm christi paul. >> i'm victor blackwell. breaking news in mercer county. actor, comedian tracy morgan was involved in a serious accident. >> this is very, very early in the game here. but, jersey officials telling us that the star is in critical condition at a hospital.

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